Reporting Michele Gile
ANAHEIM (CBS) — Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s dictator for 42 years until he was ousted in an uprising-turned-civil war, was killed Thursday as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.
The killing of Qaddafi has been a cause for celebration for many in the Southland’s Muslim community.
Local Muslims awoke to the news of Qaddafi’s death.
“He was just shouting, ‘Qaddafi is killed, Qaddafi is killed, Qaddafi is killed,” Gaddoor Saidi said, referring to a call he received from his brother in Tripoli.
At first he said he thought it was a dream.
“I jumped and went to the TV and saw everything. I went to my cellphone — I got so many texts and phone calls,” he said.
Friends gathered at an Anaheim business Thursday morning to watch Al Jazeera TV and CNN for the latest updates from Libya.
Many of the Muslims gathered were from Syria. They said they hoped Qaddafi’s fall would eventually lead to democracy and freedom in their homeland.
“We hope [that] Syria next will have the same hope, the same feeling, the same happiness, because we feel about each other as a Muslim. We are united, it doesn’t matter where we are from, but we are one heart for each other,” said Syrian-American Hala Atik.
Libian Omar Turbi said he was feeling excitement, but was also cautiously optimistic about the new regime.
“It’s a day of mixed feelings. On one side we feel very, very happy, relieved, like the weight of the world is off of our people. But at the same time, a little concern of what do we have now? We’ve ended phase one, but we have many more phases to go. So there is a concern and hope,” Turbi said.